Home » My experience with the Damp and Mould Roundtable
Recently, I had the opportunity to attend an insightful event focused on the pressing issue of damp and mould in housing. Hosted by the Housing Diversity Network (HDN), this event brought together housing associations to discuss the challenges, solutions, and implications of damp and mould problems in residential properties. Today, I’ll share with you some of the key insights I gained from this event. I was asked to attend the event to ensure that HDN had someone present to take notes on the discussion.
During the event, I learned a lot of information about damp and mould, especially the insightful presentations by Ulfat Hussain and Debbie Cason. As someone with no experience with damp and mould of my own, these presentations made the importance of the issue very clear to me and underscored the need for a carefully planned, multi-faceted approach.
From his presentation, Ulfat highlighted that damp and mould problems disproportionately affect BME households, citing factors like overcrowding, cultural differences, and poverty as contributors. Ulfat pointed out that overcrowding significantly exacerbates damp and mould issues. BME households are often Multi-generational as other cultures usually place significance on taking care of their elderly family. This can cause overcrowding within their households and potentially make damp and mould issues worse. In order to combat damp and mould, Manningham Housing Association created procedures such as referrals to financial inclusion officers, hiring multilingual staff to better communicate with BAME households, creating clear visual advice booklets, and training all staff to combat damp and mould effectively.
From her presentation, Debbie provided insights into Torus’s journey in managing damp and mould cases. Debbie stated that Torus’ strategy for handling damp and mould up until a year ago was very lacklustre. Torus transitioned from using inefficient spreadsheets to developing a structured case management approach to ensure that every damp and mould case could be tracked and managed effectively. Now, Torus conducts phone follow-ups every few months and uses fungi wash for immediate issues. However, resource limitations remain a challenge that they are trying to solve.
One idea that became apparent during the discussion was that social housing associations need to engage with diverse communities. They also need to make more of an effort to ensure that their solutions are sensitive to the cultures of their tenants. Handling issues in person, rather than through remote channels like calling over the phone or responding online builds trust and ensures that tenant concerns are heard and addressed effectively by people who will be able to help them.
Finally, I learned that by recognizing inequalities, and fostering cultural understanding, the social housing sector can make strides toward healthier and more equitable living conditions for all of their tenants, not just their white tenants. The key to tackling these issues is collaboration, timely responses.
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